American pop-punk band Bowling For Soup entertained the crowd on Wednesday evening at The Engine Shed in Lincoln. With an in-store signing at HMV in the afternoon and a performance in the evening, Hayley Cook caught up with bassist Erik Chandler and drummer Gary Wiseman to talk about the band, the beer and the cross-dressing….

Bowling For Soup Gig

How are you finding Lincoln?
Erik: It’s been great so far. We haven’t been to the Cathedral yet, but we were driving around earlier in the car and it’s amazing.

You were quoted in an interview that the band started when you “discovered beer”. How did you actually get together, and is it a lot to do with beer?
Gary: They used to say that Earth was the centre of the universe. And then it was the Sun. We actually discovered that beer is the centre of the universe.
Erik: It’s a lot to do with beer. No, we were hanging out and playing for fun when we realised that we could make a go of it. It was something to do to keep us out of trouble, and here we are, 14 years later.

You’ve been around since 1994. Are you not bored?
Erik: We don’t have a set list which keeps the show fresh for us every night, so I don’t get bored.
Gary: There are patches of boredom every day at about 2 o’clock when you’re loaded up and in your dressing room wondering what to do, but that’s just a time period of the day.
Erik: There’s a lot of sitting and waiting. We drink beer and watch a lot of movies though.
Gary: It’s amazing because we hang around the centre of the universe quite a bit and you can be sitting there bored, not doing anything, and then someone opens a beer and its like: “Ahhhh okay, we’re having fun now!”

You’ve been on tour together for nearly 15 years now. Who has the worse habits?
Gary: Chris (guitarist) has really bad farts.
Erik: But then, everyone stinks. One of our Tech guys, Tony, has the most horrendous foot odour you’ve ever experienced. He used to have to put his shoes in a drawer because if they were out, they would stink the whole bus out. You know that feet smell that smells like ass, but then it smells like feet and ass at the same time!

Bowling For Soup Interview

Obviously, you’re doing something you love; you can see that. But what are the drawbacks of being on tour all the time – do you have family back at home?
Gary: That’s probably the one drawback. Back in the day, all we wanted to do was to go on tour. We didn’t really have anyone to miss. Going on tour was the best thing ever, and as the years have gone by, we do miss home, and that’s hard to get used to.
Erik: At the same time, we love being on the road; it’s a Catch 22. This tour, I didn’t want to leave. We’d been at home for so long, but as soon as we’re gone, it’s worth it.
Gary: Then you get your phone out and you text to see which bar everyone is at….

So you’re out here to promote your first live DVD. Why did you decided to release it now and what’s the reaction been like so far?
Erik: We’ve been trying to get this to happen for years. There would have been one a long time ago if we had our way. I really enjoyed watching it though, partly because I’m in it. But the quality is great. It looks good and sounds good. I can’t believe we played as well as we did on that particular night – it was like all the stars lined up.

What’s one of your most memorable gigs?
Erik: The first time we sold out a show in London was amazing. We we’re in another country and now selling out shows in this other country, so many miles from home.
Gary: The first time we played at Reading was pretty amazing. We didn’t even understand what Reading was, and we got hired to play on one of the side stages. We came over and saw this massive festival which was awesome, and the tent we played in was packed even though people had never seen us play before.
Erik: That day, Jaret (lead vocals) and I were walking around, and I’m in the United Kingdom for the first time, and someone grabbed my sleeve and said: “You’re in Bowling For Soup aren’t you?” and I couldn’t believe it.

Does it still amaze you that people know who you are? I know you’ve been doing it a long time, but in the early years?
Erik: I don’t think anybody will get to the point where that becomes normal, or you get used to it because who are we to assume that people know who we are?

It’s nice to see you’re still quite humble and not ten feet off the ground thinking: “We’re Bowling For Soup and we’re fantastic!”
Erik: Well, I didn’t say that…….

Bowling For Soup Gig 2

At the beginning of the video for “1985”, everyone except Jaret is wearing high heels and skirts. Do you like dressing up?
Erik: We’ve been asked about this quite a lot and it was actually a Robert Palmer video that was really big in the States that we were ripping off. His back-up band in the video were all models who were hired to stand there with instruments and look good while he sang the song. Unfortunately, not all of us could be the lead singer.
Gary: You didn’t like wearing pantyhose and a skirt?
Erik: The pantyhose and skirt weren’t the problem…it was the high heels!

What do you think sums up your life in Bowling For Soup? (Ashley Partridge from SirenFM)
Erik: For me, I’ve got to say the song “Friends of Mine” that Jaret wrote as a gift to the other members of the band. These are the best friends I could ever have in my entire life and you spend so much time in such close proximity over so many years that you become closer than family.
Gary: It’s a perfect soundtrack to our life and whenever you talk about it, I get goose-bumps. The first time we heard it, we were just sitting in the car and we heard the demo. I think we all welled-up, and it still has that same effect.

Will you be playing it tonight?
Erik: We don’t play that one live, simply because I don’t think we’d all be able to make it through the song. It has a big effect on us with a lot of emotion. I can’t listen to it to be honest with you.

What is the message from Bowling For Soup? (Ashley Partridge from SirenFM)
Gary: Have a good time.
Gary and Erik: All of the time.

By Hayley Cook

>>> Read the exclusive Bowling for Soup gig review

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